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Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Country Cooking

June is country cooking month. What exactly is that you may ask?? Well, it could mean many different things. To me it means good old cooking like my mother, grandmother, mother in law and so many others in my life cooked. Others may think it means good recipes and home made meals. Some may even associate the term with being frugal and knowing how to get the most for your cooking dollar. There may even be some that think of fatty, unhealthy foods or cooking methods. You may be surprised to know that country cooking can mean a bit of everything but I want to change the thoughts of those who think it to be unhealthy. 

Country cooking month is in June and you may be surprised to see that how much good old fashioned cooking goes on in the warm summer months. The home gardens, grilling and the amount of meals that are made simply make up that June is a great moth to host this event. Canning and freezing also makes up a lot of country cooking time. 

To those of you who think that country cooking is unhealthy this is not always true. The old artery clogging, fat filled meals that were made with lard using vintage recipes has changed. Health needs and options for cooking has changed and country cooks have altered recipes to accommodate new cooking methods, foods, seasonings and serving ideas. The awesome flavor still shine out in these delicious country cooking meals. 

In the next few days be watching for many great country cooking recipes shared here. 

Take a Hike

June 20th is take a hike with a geek day but any day  is a great day to unplug from technology and get out there and take a look at nature. Southern Illinois has some beautiful paths to take a hike on. 

Cherry Tart

June host National Cherry Tart Day. Cherries is one fruit that grows on nearly all continents. Some areas they have shorter season than others. Cherry tarts are best baked with fresh cherries. Frozen and preserved cherries will not taste as good as fresh ones.

The Cherry Festival in Michigan is where the National Cherry Tart Day began. A tart is like a pie, flan and quiche all at the same time. While America claims the pie as our favorite and the tart is a french invention and if you make a savory tart then you will end up with a quiche. I know confusing right?? Simply omit the top crust of your pie and you will have a tart.

Ingredients (one 6″ x 10″ tart):
2 cup cherries, pitted
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup and 1 tablespoon water
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 piece thawed puff pastry, around 6 x 10 inches
1 egg, lightly beaten

To prepare filling, combine the cherries, sugar and 1/2 cup water in a saucepan over medium-low heat and cook for 10 minutes.
Mix cornstarch and a tablespoon of water into paste. Add the mixture to the cherries. Keep cooking until it thickens. Allow the cherry filling to cool to room temperature.

Preheat oven to 400F.
Roll the puff pastry to enlarge it a little bit. Spoon the cherry mixture on top of the puff pastry sheet, leaving one inch boarder. Roll the boarders inward to create a dent.
Brush the pie with the beaten egg.
Bake for 18 to 20 minutes, or until pastry puffs up and turns golden brown.
Serve with ice cream or whipped cream. Or sprinkle some icing sugar and serve it plain.

Cuckoo Warning Day

Did it rain today where you are at?? There is a reason I am asking. Today is Cuckoo Warning Day. While cuckoos tell great time they do one other thing, they warn of wet summers. If you hear a cuckoo on this day, the first day of summer, your summer will be a wet one. 

Yes, it does sound like the groundhog day warning. Like groundhog day this day started many years ago in the middle ages. Europeans have always had the belief that if cuckoo sing on the first day of summer then the summer will be a wet one. 

Cuckoo Trivia

Did you know that roadrunners belong to the cuckoo family. 
Cuckoo birds will lay their eggs in other birds' nests and let those birds take care of the cuckoo chicks The chicks of cuckoo birds are no better behaved as they will demand care and kick the parent's real chicks out of the nest
Europeans most likely enjoy hearing the first calls of the cuckoo bird as it is thought to be a sign that spring has arrived. 
Male cuckoos make the recognizable call but females do not as their calls are different and quieter. 

an Acquittal and a Meatloaf Recipe June 20

Many will think of only the murder performed by Lizzie but there was another side to her as well. While Bridget Sullivan and Abby Borden may have been in charge of cooking most meals at the Second Street house Lizzie did don an apron from time to time and one of her favorite recipes was meatloaf recipe. The recipe had been saved by a good friend of Lizzie and Emma Borden. Emma and Lizzie parted ways around 1905 but since that time this meatloaf recipe found its way to the local society newsletter.

Lizzie’s Version
1 pound steak, 1/2 pound pork steak, 1 egg, 1 small onion, 3 soda crackers, herbs, salt, pepper.  Grease tin, cover loaf well with hot water and bake about one hour.
A modern approach: One pound ground sirloin (15-20% fat for flavor), 1/2 pound ground pork, one large egg for a binder, one small onion (red or vidalia), 3 Uneeda brand soda crackers pulverized into crumbs (or soup/chowder crackers will work), 1/2 tsp. dried basil, 1 tsp. garlic powder, 1 tsp. salt, 1 tsp. dry mustard, 1/2 tsp. black pepper. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease a loaf pan or spray with PAM, mound thoroughly mixed ingredients into the pan, cover with aluminum foil and bake one hour.  Good served with a little ketchup on top, or catsup as it was spelled years ago.  November is a good month for comfort food.  If this recipe is too much trouble- Almac’s Diner on President’s Avenue in Fall River has superb meatloaf, mashed potatoes and brown gravy, luscious enough even for The Hill clientele of the 1920’s!

American Eagle Day

The bald Eagle is America's animal, America's bird and appears on our state seal as well. 

The national bird was at risk at the end of the 20th century as it started to fade away from the continental United States. On July 12, 1995 the species was removed from the United States Federal Government's List of Endangered Species and was placed on the list of Threatened species. June 2007

Spitting Time

With the fourth of July approaching my mind travels back to some of the good old days. My dad would come and visit my children in the summer time and often bring a water melon with him. He is the reason they spit their seeds even now as grown ups. I often wonder what my dad would have seen as a child as I never saw a water melon spitting contest in person.

Many states and fairs do host the spitting contest. When I was a kid there was a contest for the most water melon ate here at a local festival. I found the next photo super adorable

Do you enjoy spitting water melon seeds Have you ever been to a contest where they do just that??

Happy Birthday West Virginia

Today, June 20th is the birthday of the state of West Virginia. June 20th 1863 is the date that West Virginia officially became a state. It was officially the 35th state allowed in the Union. 
West Virginia. It's where the Appalachian, Blue Ridge, and Allegheny Mountains converge, and where a fiercely independent spirit, forged during the Civil War, still lives today. From a legendary resort that hid a top-secret bunker to a futuristic facility exploring the mysteries of the universe, to thrill-seekers riding the Class-5 rapids and climbing its famous bluffs, this flight across the state's towering peaks reveals why John Denver called it "almost heaven."
The civil war drew differences in the stat of West Virginia. The state would split in two during the civil war over the same dispute that was pulling the United States apart. Slave holding plantation owners in the eastern part of Virginia held power in the state's economy and politics and the self sufficient farmers who lived in the rugged western counties where slavery was not as much present. This left many in the west part of the state feeling ignored. The state of Virginia would join the confederacy in April 1861 but the western part would keep their loyalty to the Union and state would begin to separate.

Did you know that the state of West Virginia was nearly named Kanawha?? This was the name of an honored Native American tribe and a major state river. In 1862 the constitution of West Virginia was finalized in 1862 and included the states name as West Virginia The original capital of West Virginia was Wheeling. In 1870 the capital was moved to Charleston however, would be placed back in Wheeling in 1875. The residents of the state would finally vote the capital of the state to be Charleston in 1885

Did you know that the final straw that split the state of Virginia may have been the civil war. Tension had been building in the state for many years stemming back to the American Revolution. The residents had asked the Continental Congress to form a 14th colony known as Westsylvania. The request was denied then and again in 1783 when permission for a 14th state was requested. 
Rural mail was first provided in West Virginia. Farm families before that time would have to travel to distant post offices to retrieve mail or hire private companies to deliver. The RFD service began in 1896. The first five RFD carriers began service on October 1, 1896. 
There was once a top-secret bunker for Congress in West Virginia to protect congress in case of nuclear war. The height of the cold war in 1958 would be the energy to construct a bunker under ground. The bunker would open in 1961 and be used as a nuclear fallout shelter. The Washington Post would share the secret in 1992 and the bunker would be decommissioned and is now open to the public.

easy vanilla milkshake

The original "milkshake" was a healthy style eggnog drink made with eggs and whiskey. By the 1900s this had changed to where the milkshake was known as "wholesome drink made with chocolate, strawberry or vanilla syrup" that was added to ice cream. The milkshake was a favorite drink at malt shops.
The Walgreens drug store in Chicago Illinois is credited for adding malted milk powder to the milkshake. An employee known as "Pop" Coulson was making milkshakes with 2 scoops of vanilla ice cream when he added a bit of "Horlick's Malted Milk" This drink would become one of the most popular drinks. 

  • 1 Quart Vanilla Ice Cream
  • 1 cup Half & Half (or whole milk)
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  1. In a blender combine ice cream and half-and-half. Add vanilla. Blend until smooth.

Old Fashioned Summer Time Favorite Made Better : Ice Cream Soda

2 cups non-fat frozen yogurt, soft
1 1/2 cup hulled strawberries
2 cups chilled club soda

  1. Blend 1½ cups frozen yogurt and strawberries in a blender. Divide between 2 tall glasses and add 1 cup chilled club soda to each glass. Top each with ¼ cup nonfat vanilla frozen yogurt.

Happy First Day of Summer

Happy First Day of Summer to you. This day is known by many as summer solstice and occurs each year between Jun 20th and June 23rd. In 2017 the day is today June 20th. Summer occurs each year when the earths axis tilts toward the sun from June to September. Warmer weather and longer days will be present during this time period as well. However, for those folks who live in the Southern Hemisphere or the other side of the world from North America will have colder weather and shorter days.  

Today, the first day of summer will be the longest day of the year. There will still be 24 hours in the day but the day will enjoy more sunlight longer than any other day of the year. On average 15 to 20 hours of sunlight will be enjoyed. Ones location will determine exactly how much sunshine will occur. 

Throughout time the first day of summer has been celebrated in many different ways:

The ancient Romans would celebrate a festival of Vestalia from June 7th to June 15th in order to prepare for summer. The festival honored Roman goddess of the hearth Vesta. All women not only virgins were allowed to enter the Vesta shrine during the time period of the festival. 

Traditions from ancient Sweden included setting a tree up and having villagers dance around the midsummer tree. A festival with a  banquet of food that included pickled herring and new potatoes would be enjoyed. Women and girls would give up their bathtubs and wash in the local river. The tradition was thought to bring rain for the crops. 

The Natchez a southern US native american tribe worshiped the sun. They believed their ruler came from it and every summer they hosted a fruit festival. The corn could not be harvested until the festival was over. 

No matter how you enjoy the summer time get out there and do something. Make some memories. What are your summer plans?? Ours have all ready began with a road trip and looking forward to so much more .

Monday, June 19, 2017

Sickle Cell Disease Awareness

Sickle Cell Disease happens when inherited red blood cell disorders The red blood cell have abnormal hemoglobin (a protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen throughout the body)  in the red blood cells. Parents who suffered with sickle cell may pass the disease down to their children as well. Sickle Cell is not contagious. No one can catch it from someone else. 

Red blood cells with normal hemoglobin are disc shaped. The shape allows the cells to b flexible so they can move easily through the large and small blood vessels to deliver oxygen. Sickle hemoglobin cells can form stiff rods within the red cell which changes shape to crescent or sickle shape. Sickle shapes are not flexible and can stick to vessel walls. This can cause a blockage that slows or stops the flow of blood. When a blockage occurs oxygen can not travel to nearby tissues. 

The lack of tissue oxygen can cause attacks of sudden, severe pain. The pain may occur without warning and is often severe enough to send individual to hospital. This pain often worsens as individual gets older. An individuals spleen, brain, eyes, lungs, liver, heart , kidneys, joints, bones or skin can be damaged. 
A normal person is constantly making red blood cells that last between 90 to 120 days. A person with sickle cells red blood cells only live around 10 to 20 days. This gap in time makes it hard to keep up with supply of needed blood and leads to anemia. 

African American Music

African American music includes music genres that were largely developed by African Americans. The clip above shows how the music originated out of historical condition known as slavery. The lives of African Americans at this point in history was hard and the music demonstrated that hardness but strength as well.

Music of the blues and old ragtime were developed during the late 19th century The music coming out of Europe with styles that hosted a diatonic harmony and later an equal temperament hosted an African originality as well. Funk and soul music would follow suit offering the taste of the African style of music to tell stories as well. From this style of music hip hop, house and techno music would appear during the 20th century.

Black Americans would find employment following the civil war as musicians playing European music in military bands. Ragtime music that would evolve into jazz would offer those in the dance and folk music world a chance to show off as well.

Jazz and blues recordings showed off in the 1920s
African American musicians brought out Rhythm and Blues in 1940s
Soul musicians would share their influence in the world around the 1960s
Black musicians would develop funk and perform it during the 1960s and 1970s in jazz rock fusion
Hip Hop became a major style of music for black artists in 1970s and 1980s 
The 1980s would see a form of disco dance music known as house music appear on the scene
During the 2000s hip hop gained popularity 
All of these musical styles have heavily influenced previous and present African American music genres

Folk spirituals originated among Southern slaves. Many slaves would be converted to Christianity and sang the spirituals in groups as they worked the plantation fields. Dances known as the "shout" were added to the spirituals and were forms of body movements. The white music would be sped up and refrains would be repeated. The most common style of folk spiritual was call and response and repetive choruses 

shared here

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Hollerin' contest

In 1969 a contest to see who could do the best Hollerin' took place. The contest was held in Spivey's Corner North Carolina. Now hosted in the fall the hollerin' contest first took place the third saturday in June. Hollerin had at one time been conditioned down to an art to communicate from long distances. Hollerin' was an amusing form of entertainment as well. This was before the telephone or any electronic devices were made available. The money raised through the contest goes to the volunteer fire department. 

2013 would see the Hollerin' contest become part of the heritage festival. The festival is held each year on the second Saturday in September. Now, from what I see the hollerin' contest may be no more . An art form lost if anyone has any information on where this art continues please leave comment

Take a listen to find out all about this awesome event

Battle Of Bunker Hill

The Battle of Bunker Hill occurred during the American Revolution June 17 1775. The Americans were led by General Prescott who instructed "no one fires until you see the whites of their eyes" This battle would start with a British retreat. At the top of the hill the two sides would end in hand to hand combat but the outnumbered Americans would be forced to retreat.

The Battle of Bunker Hill was fought over that Bunker Hill yet most of the fighting took place on Breed's Hill. Colonial militia was pitted against British regulars and while the British would capture the ground the Americans would take pride in the fact that they could stand and fight against the British army. In the end 450 American lives would be lost as well as over 1,000 British.

PCOS Awareness

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a surprisingly common health condition. It affects 10% women in the United States. Doctors are not sure what causes the PCOS and many may have it and not be aware of it. Knowing that you have it and what symptoms to expect will help you receive the right treatment and diagnosis.

PCOS is a hormonal disorder where too much of the hormones androgens are created. The extra surplus of hormones can result in missed periods, thick body hair and hair growth, weight gain and acne. Infertility may be a result of the extra hormones as well. A normal cycle where a egg is released in a women's cycle once a month. Women who have PCOS do not have a normal cycle and the follicle often sticks around and forms a cyst.

The cysts can be seen on an ultrasound. The doctor will look for other symptoms such as irregular periods, excessive hair growth, and acne. There is no test that will diagnose PCOS Many women with PCOS will have pre diabetic symptoms. Insulin resistance can cause increased hormone levels

Obesity in women often may lead to PCOS as well. Losing 5% of body weight will have an impact on a woman's metabolic profile. Oral contraceptives can also help relieve symptoms by regulating menstrual cycle and hormone levels.